Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Neem Tree (Azadirachta indica)

Native to India, where it's said to start growing in every unexpected place imaginable, neem tree is now being grown around the world for its medicinal properties. Azadirachta indica is fast growing and every part of this 'village pharmacy' can be used and it has been, for thousands of years.

Neem tree is beautifully shaped and is great as a shade tree (see photo below).

Neem tree

Neem is propagated by seeds (photo below) and will grow in pots, protected from frost in colder climates. However, its seeds are only viable for about thirty days or so which means that fresh seeds are a must.

Another word of warning for potted plants: they will only grow as big as their space in pots allows them. So, choose the biggest planter you can still handle for your neem tree.

Although in nature Azadirachta indica handles easily a wide range of growing conditions - from extra dry in Sahara Desert to extra humid and salty of Florida Keys - neem prefers the following when grown in pots:
  • humus from your compost pile or premium potting soil mix from the nursery
  • perfect drainage
  • fish emulsion weekly
  • balanced organic fertilizer monthly during the growth period
  • as much natural light as possible during the day and artificial light during winter or your tree will stop growing
  • there are only two things that could trouble your neem plant but they are both related to overwatering: slugs and root rot

Semilla de neem seeds

More amazing facts about the neem tree:
  • in optimal growing conditions it will grow up to ten feet per year
  • it is hardy enough to survive without natural light for months
  • sculpturers know that neem wood is rodent-proof, termite-proof and great to work with
  • in U.S. or internationally you can purchase Neem Tree seeds, seedlings or two-year-old plants online (click the link)
  • in India, Bangladesh and Pakistan neem twigs are used daily for tooth-brushing which is probably one of the earliest and one of the most effective forms of dental care

Neem Tree - L. Azadirachta Indica <IMG_0072>

A Cornerstone of the Ayurvedic Tradition
  • anti-bacterial
  • anti-viral
  • anti-parasites
  • antidote for snake bites
  • natural pesticide, equally effective in repelling pests that affect plants and humans - repells about 200 pests!

Neem Flower IV

Photo above: neem blossom

A Cornerstone of the Ayurvedic Tradition

Photo below: neem fruit, filled with sweet liquid

Neem Fruit

Learn more about neem in this amazing video below.

Find out more on how to use neem oil as an insect repeller HERE (opens a new window).

In all its glory

Photo above: beautiful neem sunset

Neem Tree Farms


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for educating us all on the uses of the NEEM tree. Ionly wish we could get the word out to more farmers. Love to read your blogs!

Daria's World - blog about people and things that matter the most

Daria's World - blog about people and things that matter the most